Cloud Platform Release Announcements for November 11, 2015

This is a blog post of a new ongoing series of consolidated updates from the Cloud Platform team.


In today’s mobile first, cloud first world, Microsoft provides the technologies and tools to enable enterprises to embrace a cloud culture. Our differentiated innovations, comprehensive mobile solutions and developer tools help all of our customers realize the true potential of the cloud first era.

You expect cloud-speed innovation from us, and we’re delivering across the breadth of our Cloud Platform product portfolio. Below is a consolidated list of our latest releases to help you stay current, with links to additional details if you’d like more information. In this update:

  • Announcing a strategic partnership between Microsoft and Red Hat
  • Announcing VM Scale Sets Public Preview
  • OMS Log Analytics Linux Management Public Preview
  • Azure Premium Storage generally available in additional regions: US East
  • Azure SQL Database Threat Detection now in Public Preview
  • Power BI Content Pack SparkPost and Application Insights Generally Available
  • Azure Machine Learning Multi-Geo Announcement: Southeast Asia and West Europe

Announcing a strategic partnership between Microsoft and Red Hat

On November 4, 2015, Microsoft and Red Hat announced a strategic partnership that extends our commitment to offer unmatched choice and flexibility in an enterprise-grade cloud experience across the hybrid cloud. For all the details, check out Scott Guthrie’s post on The Official Microsoft Blog.

Announcing VM Scale Sets Public preview

VM Scale Sets are a new Compute resource that lets you deploy and manage a set of identical VMs. Scale sets provide a highly scalable and customizable compute layer for hyperscale applications. Built on the Resource Group model, scale sets support Windows, Linux platform images as well as custom images and extensions. With all VMs in a scale set configured the same, scale sets are designed to support true autoscale – no pre-provisioning of VMs are required. Scale sets integrate with networking features such as the Load Balancer and Network Security Groups, making it easy to configure NAT rules, connect to and spread workloads between VMs.

OMS Log Analytics Linux Management Public Preview

Whether you have Windows Server or Linux based workloads, Microsoft Operations Management Suite (OMS) can help you deliver the service agility and protection your business demands. The OMS Linux data collector is available starting today – and we’ve open sourced the code. The collector works with a VM, on bare-metal, or on hosts deployed in a cloud. Onboarding a Linux host into the system is accomplished in a few clicks. You can specify what logs to collect and can ingest alerts from Nagios and Zabbix. Increase your ability to derive actionable insights from your machine data and solve problems faster. Onboard your Windows Server and Linux hosts here today!

For more information, visit the Hybrid Cloud IT Management Blog.

Azure Premium Storage generally available in additional regions: US East

Pricing | Storage webpage

Azure Premium Storage is a solid-state drive (SSD)–based storage solution designed to support I/O-intensive workloads. With Premium Storage, you can add up to 32 TB of persistent storage per virtual machine (VM), with more than 64,000 IOPS per VM and extremely low latencies for read operations.

Offering a service-level agreement (SLA) for 99.9 percent availability, Premium Storage is now available in the US Central – DM and EU North – DB regions, as well as the previously announced regions. Learn more about Premium Storage here.

Azure SQL Database Threat Detection now in Public Preview

We are excited to announce that this week we have made Threat Detection available for preview on Azure SQL Database. Azure SQL Database Threat Detection provides a new layer of security to your data by detecting anomalous database activities which may indicate a common threat like SQL injection attacks.

The introduction of this feature helps customers detect and respond to a potential threat when it occurs. Users can immediately explore the potential threat by using SQL database auditing to determine if the event is a result of an attempt to access, breach or exploit data in the database.

The benefits of Azure SQL Database Threat Detection include:

  • Simple configuration of SQL threat detection policy via Azure portal
  • Clear email alerts upon detection of suspicious databases queries indicating potential SQL injection events
  • Ability to explore the audit log around the time of the event using Azure portal or pre-configured excel template
  • No need to modify database procedures or application code

Threat Detection is one of several security features for Azure SQL Database, which serve to protect data, control access and monitor database activity. Collectively, these features provide a comprehensive security solution for your applications and data in Azure.

Learn more about Azure SQL Database Threat Detection on our Getting Started page and check out recent Channel 9 video.

Power BI Content Pack SparkPost and Application Insights Generally Available

Power BI continues to make it easier for users to connect to their data, providing pre-built solutions for popular services as part of the experience. This month we added content packs for Application Insights and SparkPost. Visual Studio Application Insights (preview) allows you to find performance issues earlier, diagnose crashes faster, and get smarter about users with a 360° view of your apps and services. With the Power BI content pack, you can connect to Application Insights and explore out-of-the-box metrics of applications’ users, sessions, and page views for the last 30 days.

SparkPost is a cloud email platform that offers reliable, secure, and ultra-fast email delivery services that scale. By connecting Power BI with your existing SparkPost account, you’ll be able to use the Power BI SparkPost content pack to monitor, explore, and visualize your activity with an out-of-the-box dashboard, reports, and curated data sets.

Subscribers to these supported services can now quickly connect to their account from Power BI and see their data through live dashboards and interactive reports that have been pre-built for them. Getting started with data visualization and analysis has never been easier, for additional information visit the Power BI blog.

Azure Machine Learning Multi-Geo Announcement: Southeast Asia and West Europe

We are happy to announce that we took the step towards making Azure Machine Learning available in Microsoft Azure data centers outside of United States. Specifically, Azure ML is available in Azure data centers located in the Southeast Asia region (Singapore) and in the West Europe region (Amsterdam).

Prior to this, all Azure ML assets were located in the US South Central region. This may have created challenges for customers who are under regulatory constraints requiring all their data storage and computation resources to be located outside the US. In addition, network latency and bandwidth limitations are also potential obstacles for our international customers. That’s why we’ve been working hard to make Azure ML available in additional regions, and customers will now be able to deploy Azure ML solutions in Microsoft’s Southeast Asia data centers or West Europe Data Center.

For more information about this announcement, please read the initial announcement on our blog.

Expanding Microsoft’s Trusted Cloud in Europe: Announcing new offerings to meet growing demand for Microsoft Cloud services in Europe

At the Future Decoded event in London on 10th November 2015 and subsequent events in Germany, Satya Nadella announced a number of new investments in Europe aimed at driving innovation and economic growth and giving customers greater choice.

  • On November 10, 2015, we announced plans to deliver commercial cloud services from datacenters in multiple cities within the U.K. beginning in late 2016. The local Microsoft Cloud will enable data residency for customers in the U.K., bringing world-class reliability and performance to government organizations, regulated industries and other businesses.
  • We also announced the completion of datacenter expansions in Dublin, Ireland (North Europe Region) and Middenmeer, the Netherlands (West Europe Region). These expansions to our cloud capacity will serve the growing demand from our customers in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The regional hubs support innovation by offering the fastest route to the broadest array of Microsoft Cloud services.
  • On November 11, 2015, we announced plans to deliver Microsoft Cloud service from German datacenters in Magdeburg and Frankfurt, beginning in the second half of 2016. This is a new deployment model where Azure, Office 365 and CRM Online are deployed in German datacenters and a German data trustee will manage access to customer data under German law.

Customers choosing in-country or regional Microsoft Cloud services will benefit from our leadership in hybrid cloud and the integrated, flexible nature of our cloud platform. Whether customers need to optimize compute resources or want to integrate higher level services for advanced analytics, the Internet of Things (IoT), and big data into their solutions, the Microsoft Cloud provides the foundation.

With more than 100 datacenters in 24 regions serving over 140 countries, we offer more choices – public, partner, private, hybrid – in more places around the world than any other public cloud provider. The new local and regional offerings will feature the same industry-leading levels of security, privacy and control, compliance, and transparency that define the Microsoft Trusted Cloud.

We welcome ongoing feedback from our many customers and partners. Watch for more details to be announced in early 2016!